No longer dependent on support of independent councillors
Labour have gained full control of Merton Council after gains in last night's election.
In the 2010 election, Labour had re-gained control from the Tories when they won 28 seats against the 27 secured by the Conservatives.
Labour were then able to run a minority council, with the backing of the three Merton Park Ward Independent Residents. Three Tory councillors subsequently joined UKIP and set up the Merton Coalition - which another former Conservative joined, while another Conservative became an Independent.
And the result of yesterday's election, which was declared at 7am today (May 23), means Labour - with 36 of the available 60 seats - will continue to run the council, but with majority rule. The turnout was 41%, with Labour gaining 49% of the vote.
The results saw the three UKIP councillors - Suzanne Evans, Richard Hilton and Rod Scott lose their seats. Leading Lib Dem councillor Iain Dysart lost his West Barnes seat, and former Tory leader Debbie Shears also lost her Cannon Hill seat.
Twenty-two new councillors have been elected onto the council. The first council meeting of the newly elected administration will meet June 4.
This is the first time in eight years that the council has been run by a majority administration.
Labour leader Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: "I am delighted with the endorsement residents have given Labour in Merton. What is also pleasing is the excellent turnout in the elections. Voters said on the doorstep that they liked our good financial management in delivering efficient and well run services. They also approved of Labour's four-year council tax freeze. Many parents appreciated our hard work in providing extra school places.
We will now go about in a business like manner delivering on our promises to the residents of Merton."
Merton's Conservative leader, Councillor Oonagh Moulton, said: "I would like to thank all of Merton's residents who voted Conservative. With their support we secured 31% of the votes and 20 seats on Merton Council. I am delighted to welcome many new colleagues to the Conservative group, but sorry we also lost many talented councillors from our team.
"The final result was to give Labout an overall majority on the council and I congratulate them on their victory. It is now the job of Merton Conservatives to hold the new administration to account for their decisions over the course of the next four years."
Lib Dem election agent Anthony Fairclough said: "“I think it's fair to say that it wasn't our night – but we'll dust ourselves down and get right back on with fighting to make Merton more liberal. Given some of the results the Party had accross London, we're incredibly proud of the 36% share of the vote we got in West Barnes ward, with Coucillor Mary-Jane Jeanes being re-elected. Sadly, Councillor Iain Dysart and Phil Ling narrowly missed out. In our other target area, Dundonald ward, we took a 27% share, coming second to the incumbent Conservatives.
"We strongly believe in holding councillors from the other parties to account so that they work harder to represent you, and that’s what we’ll be doing over the next four years."
The full results are below:
|Merton Park Ward Independent Residents||3|
|UK Independence Party (UKIP)||0|
|Mitcham Independent Party||0|
|Keep Our St Helier Hospital Party||0|
|Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition||0|
May 23, 2014